People Magazine’s Discovery ID “Surviving the Dating Game Serial Killer” Interview of my 1972 Arrest of Rodney Alcala to Air Sunday May 5th 2024 6pm PST

May 1, 2024
Birch Bay, Washington
My interview relating to my 1972 arrest and conviction of Rodney “Dating Game Killer” Alcala
will be televised this coming Sunday, May 5, 2024, at 6pm on People Mag’s Investigation Discovery.

Back in 1969, I had just transferred from uniform patrol, and as a young detective trainee, I was assigned and worked LAPDs Hollywood Division, Juvenile Detail.
One of my first investigations was that of an identified and wanted fugitive to a Hollywood child rape/attempt murder. The victim was eight-year-old Tali Shapiro. The crime had occurred a few months prior to my assignment to detectives.
My partner, Sgt. Audrey Fletcher and I were able to get the suspect onto the FBI’s Most Wanted List. Though Alcala evaded arrest for several years, he was finally arrested on the East Coast of the United States, where he was working as a counselor at a teenage summer camp in the state of New Hampshire.
In early 1971, I personally flew back to New Hampshire, arrested and extradited Alcala back to Los Angeles, California. Unfortunately, by that time, the victim and her parents were living in Mexico and had no desire to return to Los Angeles to testify, fearing it would only cause additional trauma to their young daughter.
Consequently, we took a “plea agreement,” and being unable to prosecute him for the actual crimes of rape and attempted murder, he pled guilty to “child molestation.” He was sentenced to prison for “1-99 years” but was released after only 17 months.
During my career at LAPD’s Hollywood Homicide Division, I was promoted to Detective III (the highest rank in detectives) and went on to serve 17 more years and investigate more than three hundred homicides.
 I can say without hesitation that Rodney James Alcala was the “Most Evil” criminal I would ever encounter during my active career.
Subsequent to his 1971 release, he would go on to commit serial crimes throughout California and in New York and other states.
His crime signature was kidnap-rape and then slow torture of his victims over an extended period.
He was a man without any conscience or remorse and a misogynist of the highest order.
Alcala was finally rearrested and prosecuted for his serial crimes in the late Seventies and remained imprisoned, where he died  “of natural causes” in 2021.
LAPD Detective III Steve Hodel #11394 (ret.)
“Surviving the Dating Game Killer”
Sunday, May 5th, 2024, 6 pm PST

“The leading true crime network Investigation Discovery and PEOPLE, the nation’s largest magazine brand, are joining forces yet again to bring captivating stories from PEOPLE’s award-winning journalists to ID with PEOPLE MAGAZINE INVESTIGATES: SURVIVING A SERIAL KILLER. In this new series, survivors take back the narrative by sharing the disturbing yet empowering accounts of how they escaped the clutches of a serial killer. With a commitment to bring killers to justice, the powerful six-part series PEOPLE MAGAZINE INVESTIGATES: SURVIVING A SERIAL KILLER premieres on Sunday, May 5 at 9/8c on ID. In PEOPLE MAGAZINE INVESTIGATES: SURVIVING A SERIAL KILLER, survivors, their loved ones, and law enforcement come together to piece together the emotional, shocking, and exclusive stories that finally brought serial killers to justice. The premiere episode tells the story of serial killer Rodney Alcala, who appeared on a popular dating series in the midst of his murder spree. Known as “The Dating Game Killer,” Alcala is believed to have 80-120 victims spanning from California to New Hampshire. Now, PEOPLE’s acclaimed original reporting brings together the untold story of teenage survivor Morgan Rowan. In 1965, Alcala attacked her – only to brutalize her again three years later. Plagued with guilt after he attacked an 8-year-old girl months later, this episode recounts her decades-long search for the other who survived the evil of Rodney Alcala.”


  1. Frank Adkins on May 24, 2024 at 4:06 pm

    Thank you Steve for taking that piece of walking filth off the streets for at least a while.Im not one to celebrate the death of another human being but for him Id make an exception.
    I’ve often wondered when you’re setting across the table from a guy like Alcala, do you get a sense of how evil a monster he is? Is it in their eyes or how they carry themselves?Or are they so good at compartmentalization n deception there’s virtually no difference from the usual suspect?
    Thanks you for all you’ve do from the books to your yrs of service..

    • Steve Hodel on May 25, 2024 at 11:25 am

      Frank A:
      Oftentimes, yes, one can get a sense of how majorly fuc*ed up the arrestee is. In Alcala’s case, not so much, because he refused to talk to me after I took him into custody and Mirandized him on the East Coast. He just shut down and so made it harder to read him. I didn’t get that he would go on to become the absolute monster that he became in later years. Whether he had committed murders prior to Tali Shapiro, and Morgan Rowan (1968) Hollywood rapes/assaults I cannot say, but suspect YES. Sadly, we will never know the true count, but I have no doubt their were many more.

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